Hello, Space Force? I’d like to report an alien abduction.

How many? Nobody. I’m pretty sure all the runners at our race last Saturday got home safely. But something is definitely missing. You see, I worked at the race, and I collected nearly five hundred pounds of waste. But at the end, I could account for only seven pounds. Yes, that’s right. Over four hundred pounds of trash is missing, and I think Martians stole it.

The story above is true – mostly. The Martian Invasion of Races, featuring distances from 5K to full marathon, and a kids race, did generate nearly 500 pounds of waste. But thanks to the Zero Waste program at RF, all but those pesky seven pounds were recycled or composted.

I still have my suspicions about who stole the trash. That bright green guy was just hangin’ round…

For this race we set up two stations, one by the registration pavilion and starting line, and the other at the end of the finish line chute, where the post-race food and the Catered Coffee truck were. Unlimited Recycling provided a 10-yard dumpster, which was great in two ways: they accept waxed paper cups, and we didn’t have to stuff piles of cardboard into City of Dearborn 64-gallon carts like in past years.

We got some great cooperation from the rest of the staff. The finish line crew collected plastic wrap and broke down their cardboard boxes, saving the ZW team a lot of time. The team working the previous day’s race expo brought us sorted cardboard and plastic bags from unwrapping the finisher medals. And the aid station bags came in stages, so we could stay on top of them. Thanks, everyone!

The only hiccup was the mixed quality of the aid station bags. The crews there had been asked to keep Gu wrappers separate from the waxed cups. Some bags were great, while others were – well, not so much. It was, however, a big improvement from previous years, where a lot more unsorted bags all arrived at the last minute.

Bag on the left – a real pain to sort.

Finally, many thanks to my volunteer Bryan, and my staff Debbie and Alyssa for all their cheerful hard work!

P.S. Thought for the day: when there are aliens taking off, remember to use your canopy’s leg weights!

Okay, it was the wind. I think.